Residents of Whitestone say that they’ve had enough of seeing an abandoned property that’s become an eyesore in the last decade.
Over a dozen residents met at 14th Avenue and Totten Street to voice a number of health and safety concerns stemming from a neglected corner residential property. During the press conference organized by state Senator Tony Avella, residents said the property has been abandoned for up to 14 years.
The property owner of 14-05 Totten St. first received a permit for construction in 2005, according to Department of Buildings records. The permit was renewed several times and last expired in January 2014. There are currently no active permits for construction at the property.
The overgrown condition of the property has created a rodent problem, as well as issues with mosquitoes in the warmer months, residents said. The eyesore also has neighbors concerned about the site’s potential impact on their property values.
Resident Tom Longstreet said he purchased a neighboring property in 2011. Had he been aware of the history of the zombie house, Longstreet said, he “probably would have thought twice” about the purchase.
“We all pay an excess of seven to 10 thousand dollars a year in property taxes. We respect our properties,” he said.
Longstreet said he frequently cleans the property of garbage, including beer cans and used condoms, and has to dump Clorox in the area to abate the summertime mosquito situation.
“This is a great neighborhood,” Avella said. “All you have to do is walk around to any home to see how well maintained they are … Nobody should have to live with these conditions for 12 to 14 years.”
Avella said he was able to get into contact with the property owner, who claimed he was trying to put the property up for sale.
“Anybody who knows this neighborhood knows full well that you could sell this lot in a day if you’re really motivated,” the lawmaker said. “If you’re not motivated, then it’s just an excuse to leave this the way it is.”
A DOB spokesperson said the city agency has been investigating the property. An inspector was most recently at the site on Oct. 27. The inspector discovered the site was “secure” but issued two new violations to the property owner: one for an illegal fence in poor condition and another for failure to comply with previously issued violations.
A violation for illegal storage of vehicles on the property was also issued earlier this year.
“DOB will continue to monitor the property and issue additional enforcement actions if necessary,” the spokesperson said.
The property owner could not be reached for comment.